Monday, September 29, 2008

Ka-ching, Ka-ching!


The article Bad News For The Bailout included this data point about the data points used to arrive at the proposed cost of the bail out. It turns out:

"It's not based on any particular data point," a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. "We just wanted to choose a really large number."

Okay. I'm not an expert on either, but it seems to me that the unnamed Treasury spokeswoman's answer is to economics what being able to see Russia from your house is to foreign policy. (AKA: NOT ENOUGH!!!)
I mean, I totally "get" that we have to do something to fix this mess -- and the fact that the House couldn't pass the agreement as submitted to them threw the market even more into the toilet -- but come on here ... this isn't exactly the kind of response that inspires confidence that we're on the right track is it?

I'm thinking about petitioning the Episcopal Church to suspend the Lectionary Cycle and let us keep September 21st's Collect of the Day for at LEAST the rest of this election cycle:

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord, Lord, Lord!

Celebration of Ministries Sunday: Not JUST like box of chocolates!

Last year, I compared our Celebration of Ministries Sunday to a box of Whitman’s Sampler Chocolates … “a big box of chocolates spread all over the All Saints Quad Lawn where we get to see, touch, feel and experience the wonderful diversity of the work that goes on 24/7 on behalf of the Gospel here at All Saints Church.” (And thanks again to those who found it such a helpful analogy that they left the box of chocolates in my mail box. Much appreciated!)

But this year I've got another image for the celebration that happened at All Saints Church yesterday. Don’t get me wrong – I still love chocolates! But there’s something about them sitting there in the box – separated from each other, each in their own little frilly paper divider – that doesn’t quite translate to the energy and dynamism of our once-a-year festival of ministries here at All Saints Church.

So I’m thinking that All Saints’ Celebration of Ministries is more like a full orchestra out on the lawn – with a whole variety of instruments all tuning up for a symphony entitled “Program Year 2008-2009.” Because it is not a static enterprise, this turning the human race into the human family business. And it is not going to be accomplished if we just sit there – like a chunk of chocolate – comfortably nestled in our frilly paper nest.

Instead, it takes all kinds of instruments playing all sorts of notes, sometimes in harmony and sometimes in unison (and every once in awhile with a little interesting dissonance!) as each perfects their own part of the musical score. GALAS and COLORS and EDEN and Sustainable World. Prayer Shawls and Foster Care and Ushers and Women of Spirit. You could sign up to defeat Proposition 8 at the Peace & Justice table or reach out to a homeless woman at the Women’s Council table. Find out more about ministry with college students at the Indaba table or support children fighting childhood cancer at the CYF table.

The great symphony that is the mission and ministry of All Saints Church requires each and every one of us to take our place, to find our part, to give our best to make “thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” not just a prayer but a reality. That is the work we are about here at All Saints Church – each and every Sunday and all the days in-between. And THIS Sunday – Celebration of Ministries Sunday 2008 – gave us a chance to either sing a new song or to belt out an old one -- or both! -- as we bring our gifts and graces, our hopes and our challenges to meet the world’s deep need with our best offerings of time, talent and treasure.

A world in need now summons us to labor, love and give
To make our life an offering to God that all may live
The Church of Christ is calling us to make the dream come true
A world redeemed by Christ-like love; all life in Christ made new.

So on this morning-after I give thanks for the great diversity of tunes and tones and timbres that make up our All Saints Symphony. For the knitters and the prayers -- for the advocates and for the letter writers – for the reconcilers and for the agitators. It is going to take each and every last one of us -- and then some! -- to make that dream come true.

And so, without further ado, here's a slide show of yesterday's "Symphony on the Lawn" at All Saints Church!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
Exhibit A is this shot of one of the angels of St. John's Cathedral looking out over the City of Angels ...

... while the rest of us gathered inside for a Festival Evensong celebrating the Feast of St. Michael & All Angels ...

... and where Bishop Jon Bruno made Jim White an honorary canon of St. John's Cathedral, in recognition of his decades of tireless activism on behalf of the LGBT faithful in the Diocese of Los Angeles and beyond.

Here's Jim with his "you are now officially a Canon" certificate (suitable for framing!) ...

And here is Canon White posing outside with +Jon and his fellow honoree, Canon Cov Davis.

Congratulations, Jim! Well deserved and well done -- and bravo to the Diocese of Los Angeles for recognizing what the rest of us have known for years: you ARE the best -- and this church and our lives are SOOOOOOOOO much richer for your ministry and your friendship.

All Saints Says No to Partisan Pulpits

It was Celebration of Ministries Sunday at All Saints Church ... more on that later ... but here's the "punchline" of Ed's excellent sermon -- the part where he takes on the "Partisan Pulpit Sunday" preachers challenging the IRS rules about supporting candidates from the pulpit.

(You can see the whole sermon on our website here ...)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate post-mortem

(So, would it have killed McCain to look
Obama in the eye when he shook his hand?)

NYT Editorial: The First Debate

Michael Cohen: A Win for Obama

L.A. Times: A too-close-to-call debate

Washington Post: McCain's High Horse Meets Obama's High-Mindedness

MSNBC: 2 quick polls give Obama edge in debate

FOX NEWS General Election Poll
[Obama +4.3]
Obama -- 47.9%
McCain -- 43.6%

CNN stopped by on Friday ...

... to ask Ed Bacon a few questions about what he thinks about this "Preaching Partisan Politics from the Pulpit" stuff planned for Sunday by the ADF (Alliance Defense Fund.)
Supposed to air on a Sunday night segment ... 8pm PDT. Tune in and check it out.


And while we're talking "media," the second half of Ed's interview with Oprah Winfrey on her "Soul Series" webcast show is now up and running.

Watch it here ... or listen to the podcast from the website. Either way, it's 31 minutes of Ed Bacon's VGA (Vintage Glory Attack!)

Preaching politics

L.A. Times editorial

Pastors plan to speak this weekend in favor of McCain. That should get the IRS' attention.

September 27, 2008

Congress, the 1st Amendment states unequivocally, shall "make no law" that interferes with the free exercise of religion. That's a sound principle that has served this nation well, and one that undergirds our free speech and assembly rights as well. In practice, it is accompanied by a modern corollary: The government agrees not to tax churches and other nonprofit organizations, as long as they agree to limit their speech. They may preach on God and country, on war and peace, but they must not endorse candidates for office if they want to avoid the tax man. As Christ enjoined: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

To be sure, it's a bargain whose benefits are debatable. It might make more sense for the government to tax churches just as it taxes other organizations that operate under the 1st Amendment (newspapers and TV stations, for instance), and we'd be happy with churches that pay taxes and ministers who endorse candidates. But under today's rules, churches that have accepted the exemption also have accepted the prohibition against endorsements, and most faithfully abide by them.

Comes now, however, a group of ministers in California and elsewhere who intend to use their pulpits this weekend to urge parishioners to support GOP presidential candidate John McCain. "Nobody who follows the Bible can vote for" Democrat Barack Obama, one member of the cloth told The Times' Duke Helfand.

That statement is staggering in its presumptuousness -- how comfortable it must be to know which candidate is favored by God. Moreover, while it advances one American value (speech), it violates another (the separation of church and state). Both Jesus and the framers of the Constitution saw the value in such separation, which prevents the suppression of religion by the state and ensures that our civil institutions do not favor one faith over another.

Conservatives are not alone in pushing the boundaries of the tax exemption. In the 2004 presidential campaign, a pastor at All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena condemned the war in Iraq just before election day, and the IRS responded with a grueling, two-year investigation. The comments were provocative, but they were not candidate-specific and fell within the generally accepted range of religious discourse. The tax code does not prevent pastors from opposing war.

By contrast, Sunday's effort is deliberately political and specifically targeted at favoring McCain, and thus directly challenges the rules on political participation.

"My kingdom," Jesus said elsewhere in the Bible, "is not of this world." Would that his ministers better followed his example.

R.I.P. Paul Newman

Bruce Gilbert / For The Times

L.A. Times Obituary

Friday, September 26, 2008

So whatja think?

Doug Mills/The New York Times
I only got to watch 2/3 of the debate live because I was doing a radio interview that probably nobody listened to because everybody else was watching the debate I was missing. Whatever. I'll catch the other 1/3 on Tivo ... but now we're watching the "pundits" ... and I'm wondering what ya'll think???
Of course, the part I loved was Obama standing firm against the Iraq War ... I agree with him on the issues ... and he, well, he was just BETTER!
So far the early polls seem to agree with me ... (which of course, I like!) ... but there are still miles to go before we rest on this one.
Next stop, VP debate ... and I'm not scheduling any interviews during that one! :)

Prayer du jour

With thanks for "those whose lives are closely linked with ours" via the internet, this prayer (from the Church of England website) came to me this morning via email from FOUR different colleagues.

Let us pray.

Holy God,
we live in disturbing days,
across the world, prices rise,
debts increase,
banks collapse,
jobs are taken away,
and fragile security is under threat.

Loving God,
meet us in our fear and hear our prayer:
be a tower of strength amidst the shifting sands,
and a light in the darkness;
help us receive your gift of peace,
and fix our hearts where true joys are to be found,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In case you missed it ...

Here's where Sarah Palin -- in a CBS interview with Katie Couric -- clarifies how being able to see Russia from her house qualifies her with foreign policy experience:

[transcript from The Huffington Post, which also has a video link to the Couric interview ... which you can see in its entirety on the CBS website]

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land-- boundary that we have with-- Canada. It-- it's funny that a comment like that was-- kind of made to-- cari-- I don't know, you know? Reporters--


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our -- our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia--

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We -- we do -- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where-- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is -- from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to -- to our state.

Feel better yet? Me ... not so much.
UPDATE: I just watched the whole thing and her answers on Israel were even scarier!

Pastors plan to defy IRS ban on political speech

Ministers will intentionally violate ban on campaigning by nonprofits in hopes of generating a test case.

By Duke Helfand,
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 25, 2008

Setting the stage for a collision of religion and politics, Christian ministers from California and 21 other states will use their pulpits Sunday to deliver political sermons or endorse presidential candidates -- defying a federal ban on campaigning by nonprofit groups.The pastors' advocacy could violate the Internal Revenue Service's rules against political speech with the purpose of triggering IRS investigations.

Read the rest here ... including this quote from All Saints rector Ed Bacon:

"Political activity and political expressions are very important, but partisan politics are . . . . a death knell to the prophetic freedom that any religious organization must protect," said the Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena.

And here's the NPR story ... "Pastors To Preach Politics From The Pulpit"
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

"Will you strive for justice and peace among all people ...

... and respect the dignity of every human being?"

St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles says, "YES, we will!"


This just in from the L.A. Times ...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

CNN Poll

Quick Vote (On the CNN Home Page at the moment)

John McCain's request to delay campaigning and this week's debate is:

  • An effort to help the economy
  • A political gimmick
  • Something else

Results as they stand at time of posting:

  • An effort to help the economy ... 24%
  • A political gimmick ... 71%
  • Something else ... 5%

(Maybe the American people are smarter than we look!)

Campbell Brown: "Free Sarah Palin!"

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Frankly I have had it, and I know a lot of other women out there who are with me on this. I have had enough of the sexist treatment of Sarah Palin. It has to end.

She was in New York on Tuesday meeting with world leaders at the U.N. And what did the McCain campaign do?

They tried to ban reporters from covering those meetings. And they did ban reporters from asking Gov. Palin any questions.

I call upon the McCain campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower who will wilt at any moment.

This woman is from Alaska for crying out loud. She is strong, she is tough, she is confident. And you claim she is ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. If that is the case, then end this chauvinistic treatment of her now. Allow her to show her stuff. Watch Brown call on the McCain campaign to 'Free Sarah Palin' »

Allow her to face down those pesky reporters just like Barack Obama did today, just like John McCain did today. Just like Joe Biden has done on numerous occasions. Let her have a real news conference with real questions.

By treating Sarah Palin differently from other candidates in this race, you are not showing her the respect she deserves.

Free Sarah Palin.

Free her from the chauvinistic chains you are binding her with.

Sexism in this campaign must come to an end. Sarah Palin has as much a right to be a real candidate in this race as the men do. Watch a debate on whether the GOP is hiding Palin »

So let her act like one.


And let the people say ...


He's GOT to be kidding!

The New York Times is reporting:

McCain Seeks to Delay First Debate

Senator John McCain on Wednesday injected yet another surprise into his presidential campaign, announcing that he would suspend campaigning on Thursday and seek a delay in this week’s planned debate, so that he could return to Washington to try to forge a consensus on a financial bailout package.

You can read it all here ... and I guess the IDEA is that he would come across as a problem-solver ... which would be more arguable if his poll numbers weren't heading south because every time he opens his mouth and says something else about the economy (it's "fundamentally sound" comes to mind!)
It seems to me he comes across as a problem solver all right ... and the problem he's trying to solve is what on EARTH is he going to say on Friday night that won't keep voters from bailing on McCain/Palin by the droves.
Stay tuned. It just gets curiouser and curiouser!
[And here's the Washington Post "behind the scenes" look at the McCain strategy ... which includes this quote from Obama:
"There are times for politics and then there are times to rise above politics and do what's right for our country," said Obama. "This is one of those times." He added, however, that he had no plans to re-schedule Friday night's presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., as McCain had proposed in announcing the suspension of his campaign.

"It's my belief that this is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from the person who in approximately 40 days will be responsible for dealing with this mess," said Obama. "Part of the president's job is to deal with more than one thing at once."

A Bishop Reflects on +Duncan's Deposition

From the blog of +Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe:

Bishop Robert Duncan was deposed for abandonment of the communion of this Church, under Canon IV.9. This followed a process begun by some clergy and laypeople of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. While he himself demanded a church trial in an open letter to the bishops, the only canonical basis for action by the Presiding Bishop and House of Bishops is the presentment itself.

The House of Bishops, in other words, could act only on what the complainants from Pittsburgh put before us, including the canonical frame of their charges. Neither the Presiding Bishop nor Review Committee, nor the House itself, could change it. A trial would certainly have been more damaging for the defendant, in any event.

It is easy to derail the Canon IV.9 process by denying that one has indeed left the Episcopal Church. Bishop Duncan did not do so. Nor did he attend the meeting. Less than five minutes after the vote to depose him, the Diocese website announced that he had been received into the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of the Americas.

My own understanding of the canons that I followed with a priest of the Convocation who claimed to be received in another province--while continuing to want to minister in Europe for that province and against us--is that one can only be legally transferred to another province of the Communion by moving there. As Bishop Duncan wished not only to join the Southern Cone province but also took active steps to remove the diocese with him, he clearly had done what the presenters charged.

The House upheld the rulings of the Presiding Bishop, her Chancellor, and the House Parliamentarian, that the canons were appropriately and correctly applied.

The Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts-Schori, did a flawless job of chairing the meeting. She warned us not to indulge in vindictiveness. As she has done before, she also admonished us not to abandon those bishops who have been deposed. They are still connected to us in a real way, by baptism to begin with. Bishop Katharine also saw to it that when two retiring bishops were feted later that evening, that time was given for people to remember Bishop Duncan in positive ways.

As for me, I discovered with great joy the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Way of Christianity thirty years ago in Pittsburgh. I was received into the Church by Bishop Austin Pardue, one of our great bishops of the last century, and made a postulant for Holy Orders by Bishop Bob Appleyard, another giant whom I eventually succeeded as Bishop in charge. I was ordained deacon and priest by Bishop Appleyard's successor, Alden Hathaway, and served my first cure as rector of All Souls Church in that diocese.

Over the years, I have watched the once-great diocese become a shadow of its former self under Bishop Duncan's leadership. His clear schismatical intent to break up our church, as well as what I perceived as egocentric ambition to become its savior, also generated in me a great deal of anger toward the man. I took his actions even more personally, perhaps, because of my deep commitment to the diocese as the people who brought me out of a spiritual desert into a way of being Christian in which I have been able to follow Jesus.

As I considered how to vote on his deposition, I realized that for the good of my own soul, I should abstain. It seemed clear that he would be deposed, and I fully concur with that decision.

Had my vote been a tie-breaker, I would have changed it to a yes. However, in my heart I felt the temptation to use my vote as a way of getting even with the man. Abstaining seemed the healthier way.

This may seem precious to some. Perhaps they are right. But it is how I saw the matter at the time.

Yours in Christ,

Who knew????

Read all about it ...
... or not! :)

Confessions of a Calendar Luddite

Yes, I have a PDA. Of course I use Outlook. But my REAL calendar ... the one that counts ... looks like this:

It's not that I'm technology averse. In fact, not long ago a media consultant we were working with told me I was "remarkably techno savvy for my demographic." (Let's not go there.) But when it comes to my calendar, I like what I like. And today, I got a new one ...

... which totally makes it feel like the first day of school ... with this blank slate of program year stretched out in front of me ... ready to be filled up with work and witness, mission and ministry, and ... (if I'm paying attention to balancing my life like I'm supposed to be doing!) ... rest and recreation.
I'm a long time, unrepentant Luddite when it comes to calendars. Exhibit A is this shelf behind my desk where I have all the "save to hard-drive" calendars from years past ready to be referred to at a moment's notice.

No, it may not be quite as efficient as being able to hit "search" on your desktop and find a past appointment or date or time ... but what I miss in the cyber calendar are the notes scribbled in the margins, the doodles along side the dates, the post-it-notes reminding me of the to-do lists that never actually got done ... and that the world kept spinning anyway.
What will 2009 hold? A January Inauguration and a July General Convention are already on the list ... I've got Board meetings already scheduled in the spring an Urban Caucus Assembly in February and an HRC Capitol Hill action in May ... and who knows what else will come along as "our days increase."
When I took my now-dog-eared 2008 calendar out of it's plastic wrapper about this time last year, could I have even IMAGINED that it would end up being full of dates for the weddings of same-sex couples who were finally granted marriage equality in the state of California? Or that on the 4th of November we will have the very real possibility of ACTUALLY sending Barack Obama to the White House?
No sir-ee Bob!
So bring it on ... I'll take all the YouTube and iTunes and podcasts and live-streaming webchat stuff you can throw my way in 2009. Me and my Luddite calendar are ready to rock and roll!

Abraham Heschel Quote of the Day

“Religion had declined not because it had been successfully argued against, but because it had become irrelevant, dull, oppressive, uninteresting. When faith is replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crises of today are ignored because of the remembered splendor of the past; when faith becomes an inherited heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority and rules rather than the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.”
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Garrison Keillor asks: "Where is the outrage?"

John McCain decries greed on Wall Street and suggests a commission be formed to look into the problem. This is like Casanova coming out for chastity.

By Garrison Keillor
Sep. 24, 2008

It's just human nature that some calamities register in the brain and others don't. The train engineer texting at the throttle ("HOW R U? C U L8R") and missing the red light and 25 people die in the crash -- oh God, that is way too real. Everyone has had a moment of supreme stupidity that came close to killing somebody. Even atheists say a little prayer now and then: Dear God, I am an idiot, thank you for protecting my children.

On the other hand, the federal bailout of the financial market (YAWN) is a calamity that people accept as if it were just one more hurricane. An air of crisis, the secretary of the Treasury striding down a hall at the Capitol with minions in his wake, solemn-faced congressmen at the microphones. Something must be done, harrumph harrumph. The Current Occupant pops out of the cuckoo clock and reads a few lines off a piece of paper, pronouncing all the words correctly. And the newscaster looks into the camera and says, "Etaoin shrdlu qwertyuiop." Where is the outrage?

Poor Larry Craig got a truckload of moral condemnation for tapping his wingtips in the men's john, but his party proposes to spend 5 percent of the GDP to buy up bad loans made by men who walk away with their fortunes intact while retirees see their 401K go pffffffff like a defunct air mattress, and it's business as usual. Mr. McCain is a lifelong deregulator and believer in letting brokers and bankers do as they please -- remember Lincoln Savings and Loan and his intervention with federal regulators on behalf of his friend Charles Keating, who then went to prison?

Remember Neil Bush, the brother of the C.O., who, as a director of Silverado S&L, bestowed enormous loans on his friends without telling fellow directors that the friends were friends and who, when the loans failed, paid a small fine and went skipping off to other things? Mr. McCain now decries greed on Wall Street and suggests a commission be formed to look into the problem. This is like Casanova coming out for chastity.

Confident men took leave of common sense and bet on the idea of perpetual profit in the real estate market and crashed. But it wasn't their money. It was your money they were messing with. And that's why you need government regulators. Gimlet-eyed men with steel-rim glasses and crepe-soled shoes who check the numbers and have the power to say, "This is a scam and a hustle and either you cease and desist or you spend a few years in a minimum-security federal facility playing backgammon."

The Republican Party used to specialize in gimlet-eyed, steel-rim, crepe-soled common sense and then it was taken over by crooked preachers who demand we trust them because they're packing a Bible and God sent them on a mission to enact lower taxes, less government. Except when things crash, and then government has to pick up the pieces.

Some say the tab might come to a trillion dollars. Nobody knows. And Mr. McCain has not one moment of doubt or regret. He switches from First Deregulation Church to Our Lady of Strict Vigilance like you might go from decaf to latte. Where is the straight talk? Does the man have no conscience?
It wasn't their money they were playing with. It was yours. Where were the cops?

What we are seeing is the stuff of a novel, the public corruption of an American war hero. It is painful. First, there was his exploitation of a symbolic woman, an eager zealot who is so far out of her depth that it isn't funny anymore. Anyone with a heart has to hurt for how Mr. McCain has made a fool of her. Never mind the persistent cheesiness of his attack ads. And now this chasm of debt and loss and the gentleman pretends to be shocked. He was there. He turned out the lights. He sent the regulators home.

Mr. McCain seems willing to say anything, do anything, to get to the White House so he can go to war with Iran. If he needs to recline naked in Macy's window, he would do that, or eat live chickens, or claim to be a reformer. Obviously you can fool a lot of people for awhile and maybe he can stretch it out until mid-November. But the truth is marching on. A few true conservatives are leading a charge against the bailout. Good for them. But how about admitting that their cowboy economic philosophy was at fault here?

(Garrison Keillor is the author of a new Lake Wobegon novel, "Liberty," published by Viking.)

© 2008 by Garrison Keillor.
All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bits & Pieces ...

So it's been a VERY whirly couple-of-weeks and I feel as though I haven't had a minute to think beyond the very next thing in front of me ... because I haven't!

But now with the dust settling from the "best ever" Homecoming Sunday ... which included the celebration of our 125th Birthday as a Parish ... and the program year off and running, it seemed a good moment to pause and post up these few "bits and pieces":

Obviously, I've been pretty immersed in the "No on Prop 8" campaign here in California, and am very pleased with the California Episcopalians for Equality blog that was launched this week. There are such great stories to be told -- and what a privilege to be able to help tell them!

Sunday ... Homecoming ... was a great celebration here at All Saints Church and I commend to you the sermon preached by our rector, Ed Bacon: 125 Years of Transformative Grace. I particularly loved the way he wove the Jonah story into calling us into the next 125 years of mission and ministry ahead of us. A great, great day.

At home, our life has been revolving, more or less, around the newest member of our family ... Miss Juno Brooks-Russell (shown here with the evidence of her latest foray into digging in the garden!)

She is a bundle of energy, tiny puppy teeth and a VERY waggy tail and we are overwhelmed and utterly besotted.

"In other news" the IRS story seems to be heating up again ... you remember them from the last presidential election cycle? It seems there are a bunch of conservative congregations planning to intentionally violate the no-partisanship-in-the-pulpit rule in order to push the issue to the Supreme Court and -- hopefully, by their reckoning -- get the regulations changed.

On September 10th, local radio host Patt Morrison did a piece -- Reforming the God Tax? Groups Push to Rewrite IRS Rules on Churches -- that has some interesting background. And the Interfaith Alliance Protecting Faith & Freedom is doing some VERY good work around these issues ... if you don't know about them, check out their website. And if you're in the L.A. area, come by All Saints on Thursday night this week where they're having a forum called "Religion and the 2008 Election" which sounds like it's going to be great.

Finally, all this bustling busyness is being played out against the backdrop of a very dear, faithful and fabulous friend coming to the end of her long and valiant battle with cancer. It is a holy time for all of us who hold her and her family in our hearts and minds ... and I invite readers of this blog to join with us as we surround her and those who love and care for her with our prayers:

Holy God, giver of life and health; Comfort and relieve your servant and give your power of healing to those who minister to her needs, that she may be strengthened in her weakness and have comfort in your loving care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Equality for ALL!

(A picture is worth 1000 woofs!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

California Episcopalians for Equality

Check out the new blog in town ...


A blog to providing resources and networking opportunities for California Episcopalians committed to protecting the sanctity of ALL marriages and defeating Proposition 8 on the November 4th ballot.

The site currently contains links to news items, statement from the California bishops, background on General Convention actions regarding civil marriage and an opportunity for supporters of marriage equality to tell their stories.

We're looking for folks who are willing to share [a] a photo and [b] 200 words about why marriage equality matters to them.So whether you're a newlywed same-sex couple, a long-time married straight one or a single supporter of marriage for all, here's a chance to join your voice with other fair-minded Californians working to keep marriage in the "liberty and justice for all" category -- not turn it into "liberty and justice for some."Email your photo and story to Episcopalians4equality and join us as we work together to defeat Proposition 8!

"No on 8" commercial set to hit California airwaves

Chcek out the new commercial from the No on 8 folks ...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Prop 8 Opponents Planning Weekend of Activities

This weekend, thousands of volunteers throughout California, will be working to defeat Proposition 8, taking their message directly to the voters. Local committees from Sonoma to San Diego, from San Francisco to Bakersfield will be organizing volunteers to staff phone banks, waive signs and talk to their neighbors to highlight the growing coalition of Californians who don't want to eliminate rights for anyone.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will attend a No on 8 Rally, in Palm Spring residents will line six key traffic sites waving signs and talking to those on the sidewalk. In dozens of cities people will be staffing phone banks to get the message out, in others faith leaders will be talking to their parishioners while other volunteers table at community events.
Everywhere, volunteers against 8 will be reaching out in their local communities to urge their neighbors, friends and co-workers to Vote No in November.
"The volunteer activity in our campaign has been incredible from the very beginning," said Steve Smith, consultant to the No on 8 Campaign. "I've worked in dozens of political campaigns and I've never seen so many individuals and so many different groups willing to help us get our message out. The turnout this weekend will be phenomenal...and will let folks from throughout California know how many people are urging them to Vote NO on 8."
Local No on 8 coalitions include women's groups, civil rights groups, the LGBT community, faith leaders, labor union members, teachers, Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They will all be working throughout the weekend to urge voters to VOTE NO on Proposition 8.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

House of Bishops Deposes Bishop of Pittsburgh

Press release from Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh received via email a few minutes ago:
PEP Hopes Diocese Will Move Forward Gracefully After Duncan Deposition

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania —
September 18, 2008 —

Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh regrets that events have caused the House of Bishops to consent to the deposition of Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert W. Duncan. It is never a cause for rejoicing when the Church must confirm that one of its leaders has abandoned the communion of The Episcopal Church. The decision to depose Bishop Duncan comes after long and agonized consideration.

It is nine months since the Title IV Review Committee certified that, in the opinion of its members, the bishop had abandoned the communion of this Church. Bishop Duncan has repeatedly said that he expected the Church to discipline him. He has rejected numerous opportunities and warnings to reconsider and change course.

Instead, he has continued resolutely to pursue a course of action designed to remove this diocese and many unwilling Episcopalians from The Episcopal Church. Now that the House of Bishops has acted, the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh needs to find a way to move forward gracefully and productively.

By canon, the Standing Committee is now the ecclesiastical authority for the diocese. We pray that its members will exercise wisdom in a spirit of love and reconciliation and will reconsider the divisive course set for our upcoming diocesan convention. It is within their power to begin to heal this troubled diocese.

Everyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, including Bishop Duncan and his family, the Standing Committee, the clergy, and ordinary parishioners need the prayers and concern of the entire Episcopal Church. With God’s help, this diocese will continue the witness of The Episcopal Church in Southwestern Pennsylvania long into the future.

The Living Church has this report ... and the Diocese of Pittsburgh has this to say about that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

San Diego Stands Up for Marriage Equality

Lead editorial in today's San Diego Union-Tribune ... a paper not historically notable as a champion of progressive values.

Gay marriage right should not be repealed
September 18, 2008

The right of gay and lesbian couples to wed on an equal legal basis with heterosexual couples has long stirred opposition not only among social conservatives but also among a much broader swath of society. But in the four short months since a landmark California Supreme Court ruling legalized gay marriage, a significant social shift seems to have occurred.

As gay couples have gone to the courthouse and entered into matrimony, usually surrounded by champagne, family and friends, the worst fears of gay marriage opponents suddenly seem greatly inflated. For instance, Christian conservatives have asserted for years that allowing gays to marry would undermine heterosexual unions – hence, such laws as the Defense of Marriage Act. In truth, however, there has been no discernible impact on traditional marriage between a man and a woman now that gay couples in California have the same right.

With gay marriage a fait accompli, society has not crumbled. The long-standing institution of marriage is not in crisis. Californians have taken this change in stride. Indeed, there appears to be a marked shift in public opinion toward acceptance of gay marriage.

Consider that in 2000, when California voters last weighed the issue, fully 61 percent supported a ban on gay marriage. Today, with Proposition 8 on the Nov. 4 ballot, polls show that Californians support gay marriage by a margin of 54 percent to 40 percent, with 6 percent offering no opinion. The trend suggests that, by Election Day, a solid majority of Californians will register their approval of gay marriage.

Proposition 8 would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. It stipulates, by a one-sentence amendment to the state constitution, that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Our guess is that even voters who may have reservations about gay marriage will be reluctant to repeal a right that now exists as a matter of law. To do so would smack of singling out a particular group for discrimination, a move that offends many Californians' sense of fairness.

Supporters of Proposition 8 make two arguments. The first is that, for thousands of years, marriage has been defined as between a man and a woman exclusively. Considering how Californians historically have been wide open to change, this appeal is not likely to carry much force.

The second argument made by supporters is that children should be raised solely by a father and a mother, not by two fathers or two mothers. Yet the debate over child-rearing is entirely beside the point, because Proposition 8 is about marriage only. It would do nothing to prevent gay couples from adopting children or from having children through artificial means. Indeed, all Proposition 8 would do is ensure that the children of gay couples would be raised in households where the parents were unmarried. Would that be a healthier situation for children?

In the past, this page has advocated civil unions for gay couples rather than marriage. But our thinking has changed, along with that of many other Californians. Gay and lesbian couples deserve the same dignity and respect in marriage that heterosexual couples have long enjoyed. We urge a No vote on Proposition 8.

Church of England apologizes to Darwin ...

... sort of.

From Episcopal Life Online:

A spokesman for the Church of England has said the church misunderstood Charles Darwin's work nearly 150 years ago and that "by getting our first reaction wrong," has continued an on-going misunderstanding.

At the end of an essay titled "Good religion needs good science," the Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown, the Church of England director of mission and public affairs, addressed Darwin directly, saying that nearly 200 years after his birth "the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still."

"We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends," Brown wrote. "But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science -- and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well."

Read the rest here ... kind of interesting, what with Creationism being back in the news and all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hallmark says "I Do" ...

... to same-sex marriage cards.

I must have missed a meeting -- or an email or something. Probably it was while I was on vacation. But HALLMARK, it turns out, is now getting on the marriage equality bandwagon and producing cards celebrating marriage AND appropriate for same-sex weddings.

Here's a link to the August 21st NBC News story which I evidently missed. (Better late than never, I figure.)

My reaction, predictably, is "good for them."

The American Family Association's reaction, predictablly, is "not so much."

From their website is this suggested letter to send to Hallmark President Donald Hall:

Dear Chairman Hall:

I am surprised that Hallmark is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle which is illegal in 48 states. There was a time Hallmark told us to send the very best. Sorry to see you have taken a giant step down. No more. American Greeting Cards, your competitor, will be getting my business.


So I figure if we've been listening all these years during the Hallmark Hall of Fame, then we know that you send a Hallmark card ... "when you care enough to send the very best" -- and WE should care enough to let the folks at Hallmark know that they shouldn't be bullied by a bunch of homophobic bigots.

And -- speaking of same -- thanks to the American Family Association, we've got the Hallmark contact info at our fingertips:

Corporate number:

Email address:
Donald J. Hall, Chairman

Snail mail address:
Donald J. Hall, Chairman
Hallmark Cards
2501 McGee Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64108

Ready ... Set ... GO!!!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Abel Lopez Kicks Some Homiletic Butt

My colleague, Abel Lopez, preached a kick-butt sermon yesterday on the lessons appointed for the Sunday Closest to September 14 ... Romans 14:1-12 and Matthew 18:21-35.

I commend the whole sermon -- entitled "Rewriting Our Stories" to you ... click here for the video and settle in for a real treat.

But -- if you're in a hurry and want the "executive summary" ... here it is:

Paul was a good and faithful servant. He wanted more than anything to preserve the Church and yet he was confronted with a major obstacle to the church remaining in unity.

With great passion and a strong sense of what was right or what was wrong the Jewish converts to Christianity and the Gentile converts were in a bitter dispute. The theological disagreement came down to beliefs regarding the eating of meat and the observance of the Sabbath.

Paul understood that both sides needed to move beyond customs, beliefs, and teachings that at best were petty and at worse were exclusionary and judgmental.

The beauty of Paul’s leadership here is that he did not take sides. He did not frame one belief as better, or right, rather he said to each they should act according to their conscience. However, in doing so they had to respect their differences and not be a stumbling block to the goals and visions of their brothers and sisters.

What would Paul have done if one of the converted groups had refused this idea? If one of them had said that the other had to change or they would leave? I’d like to believe that Paul would have let them leave.

Breaking News: DOW CLOSES DOWN 504.48 POINTS

(According to the ABC News Alert that just hit my email inbox.)

Q. Given the state of the American Economy, is this the guy you want setting economic policy for the next four years?


Dear Daughter ..

From The LA Weekly ... a father laments "the road not taken" in this moving letter to his community organizer daughter.

You'll Never Be Vice President

Daughter Dearest,

It is with great pain and a certain measure of shame that I write you this note. Having grown up in the '60s and watched, sometimes at glaringly close range, the emergence of the women's liberation movement, I had always harbored great dreams and aspirations for you.

But as I listened to Governor Sarah Palin address the nation the other night, I had to confess that — as your father — I have clearly failed. Honey, you will never be able to achieve the greatness of being nominated for vice president of the United States. Forget about it.

And for this sad reality, I accept all blame. 'Twas I who steered you wrong.
Here you are, almost 25, with what your mother and I believed was a solid education behind you, and yet you are nothing but a common community organizer. Yes, the labor union you work for represents nearly 2 million service workers — about three times the population of Alaska. But, alas, as Governor Palin pointed out, you have no real responsibilities.

By helping janitors, security guards, nursing aides and orderlies gain a living wage, paid health care insurance and a retirement fund, you have only robbed them of the personal initiative to go out there and make something better of themselves. You have rendered them feebly dependent on Big Labor and tax-and-spend Big Government — and all in their own crass self-interest in survival.

I'm not sure when I helped nudge you on to such a mistaken road. Probably sometime while you were attending that government-run high school in which we enrolled you. You could have joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as Ms. Palin did. Instead, I pushed you to become a columnist on the school paper.

You could have spent your afternoons becoming the local barracuda on the courts. But, nope, your mom and I indulged your trivial passions for staging and directing the plays of Shakespeare. You could have competed to be Miss Woodland Hills or even Miss Congenial California, but — no — there were your mom and dad encouraging you to finish writing your first play. Sorry.

From there, the mistakes only multiplied. Instead of letting you wait until the responsible age of 44 before letting you secure a passport, we strained our family budget and squandered who knows how many thousands by putting you on countless Flights to Nowhere: New York, Washington, New Orleans, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Santiago, Mexico City. And to what end? So you could return home — as the huggable Mayor Giuliani so neatly put it — some sort of "cosmopolitan"?

Exposure to so many foreign ideas (like the notion of spending an idle afternoon reading a book in a café instead of learning to field-dress a moose) only contaminated you, rendering you insensitive and contemptuous to the day-to-day needs of bowling league members in Michigan's Macomb County. Worse, you returned from those European jaunts a brainwashed follower of the elite, angry, left media.

By the 12th grade, all the warning signs were there. I'd walk into your room at 1 in the morning and catch you with a flashlight under the covers, reading the book pages of The Atlantic. Why didn't I nip this all in the bud and buy you a well-oiled Remington 12-gauge so you could plink the coyotes south of Ventura Boulevard?

The real disaster came, of course, in college. Four straight years wasted at UCLA, when you could have been following the course of the governor, sampling five different schools in six years. You were reading Orwell. By then she was practicing doublespeak. You were studying public policy, by then she was figuring out how to win the 909 votes she needed to become mayor of Wasilla.

You were inclined to donate $100 to the ACLU. She was way ahead of you, sweetie, as she calculated how to avoid the ACLU when she made her inquiries into pruning the local library of un-American and anti-Christian propaganda. She was on her way up and you, dear child, were dead-ended in the silly task of trying to organize seven hospitals back to back.

It's not healthy to dwell on so many regrets, I know. And as I said, this is mostly the fault of your parents. While you are the victim of these reckless choices, your mom and I, nevertheless, pay a heavy price. If we had only been sage enough to bar you from sex-ed class and contraceptives and instead had let you rely on abstinence and prayer, there was an even chance you could have been pregnant by age 17. You'd have a joyous 7-year-old child right now to help you get through your 10-hour workday. The father might have married you. And we'd have a lovely grandchild who a mere decade from now could produce us a great-grandchild and we would all still be young enough to go snowmobiling together — the next time it snows in Woodland Hills.

Ah, but better not to dwell on the negative. Make the best of the little we have given you, and grant us your understanding and forgiveness. And don't despair too much. Remember, when McCain-Palin come to power, real change is gonna come, and we'll all be better off.

Love, Dad

Mazel tov!

A new bishop for the Diocese of Maine!

From The Bangor Daily:

PORTLAND, Maine — The Right Rev. Chilton R. Knudsen, the first woman to serve as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine, on Saturday handed a shepherd’s staff — the symbol of the office — over to her successor at the seating and investiture of Bishop Stephen Taylor Lane.

Lane, 58, of Portland was elected bishop in October at the annual diocesan convention in Bangor. Ordained in 1978, he served in upstate New York in a number of congregations and diocesan staff roles. Lane was the canon for deployment and ministry development in the Diocese of Rochester when he was elected.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome All!

[ Reflections on Romans 14:1-12 for the 1:00 Bilingual Service at All Saints Church ... Sunday, September 14th]


Welcome All

“Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith, there is a place for you here.”

Unless this is your first Sunday at All Saints Church, you know that these words are ones we say EVERY Sunday … in fact, they are words that are core values for this congregation and have been for a very long time.

Every once in a while, someone questions whether we really mean it. “"Whoever you are” you are welcome here? Really?"

“WHEREVER you are on your journey of faith? Really?"

Yes, really. Whoever. Wherever. You are welcome here. ALL are welcome here. Really. All.

And this morning, I’m so very pleased that one of the lessons for today is the reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. It is a lesson that proves – once and for all – that “whoever you are you are welcome here” is not something Ed Bacon or Abel Lopez made up one day over a margarita. Rather, it is something that is as old as the very earliest days of the Christian faith and the words of the apostle Paul.

Listen again to his words – important words spoken to the 1st century Christians in Rome that are just as important for we 21st century Christians here in Pasadena:

Welcome those whose faith is weak, and do not argue with them. The opinions of people range from those who believe they may eat any sort of meat, to those who abstain. Those who eat everything must not despise those who abstain. The ones who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat, for God has welcomed them. Who are you to judge someone else?
The point of this lesson, of course, isn’t what's for lunch. It isn't about who’s a vegetarian or who isn’t – it’s about how God expects us to respect each other in our differences and how Paul expects the Christians he’s writing to in Rome to welcome – not argue with – those who were different than they are.

And that’s a lesson we ALL need to learn … over and over again … not only here at All Saints Church but in every part of our life and work – especially during this election season when it seems that there is so very much to disagree about with each other! (At least that’s what it looks like on the television news every night!)

Another thing you will have heard before -- if you’ve been here more than once – is that All Saints is committed to the work of turning the human race into the human family. And so, if we put the two together, after we’ve welcomed you to All Saints Church -- whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey of faith – then what you’re welcome to do when you get here is help us to live out the human family values every day that we talk about every Sunday.

We hear a lot about “family values,” don’t we – particularly when it’s election time. But what we are committed to here at All Saints Church is valuing ALL families. And we’re committed to working to make not just this congregation but this country a place were all are not just welcome but given equal opportunity. When we work during the week for immigration reform or improving the health care system or protecting marriage equality, we’re doing it in response to our desire to live as God would have us live – to welcome all as we have been welcomed – to respect the dignity of every human being by treating them as we would treat members of our own family.

Next Sunday is “Homecoming” and we’ll start off the new church program year by welcoming back those who’ve been away for the summer, as well as those who may be here for the first time. And the following week is “Celebration of Ministries” Sunday – when we’ll get a chance to see displays from all the many ministries doing God’s work here at All Saints Church.

This is a wonderful time to invite friends – neighbors or relatives – to join us here at All Saints Church where whoEVER you are and wherEVER you find yourself on your journey of faith, there is a place for you. Really.

Yes, really. Whoever. Wherever. You are welcome here. ALL are welcome here. Really. All.

Thanks be to God.

The truth will set you free ...

... AND make you a smarter voter!

Here are some sites to bookmark to "Fact Check" and help separate the facts from the flotsom in the political discourse avalanche of this final stretch of the election cycle 2008. Thanks to my friend Lilli for this one!


Once again, many of us are feeling very riled-up and emotional about the presidential election. But regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, we owe it to ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods and the greater community of our nation that we all care so much about to know the facts.

Unfortunately, mud-slinging is a part of political campaigns and that won’t change any time soon. E-mails fly around the Internet faster than you can get whiplash when hit at 60 miles an hour.

Here are two resources to help you be an informed voter:

Politifact –- a project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly to help you find the truth in the presidential campaign. This is a very entertaining Web site. Check out the Truth-O-Meter and Flip-O-Meter. -- a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Check out factcheck’s weekly video with highlights from the top mud-slinging stories and viral e-mails.

In case you missed it ...

... not so live ...

... from New York ...


UPDATE: I understand You Tube took down the clip but if you click here you can still watch it ... after a 14 second commercial. (Worth the wait ... trust me!)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ed Bacon on Oprah's "Soul Series" on Monday!

All Saints rector, the Reverend J. Edwin Bacon, is going to be the featured guest on Oprah's "Soul Series" webcast, broadcast on XM radio. (How cool is that???)

Here's what the "Soul Series" is, as described on Oprah's website: Each week on her XM Radio show, Oprah sits down with leading spiritual thinkers, teachers and authors to talk about matters of the soul, and shares insights into her own life. Plus, she invites listeners to reflect on their own spiritual journeys. Videotaped sessions of Oprah's Soul Series will be available on every Monday evening at 9/8c.

Click here for a video preview and tune in on Monday, September 15th.
(And here's a list of previous guests on this series I'd never even heard about until Ed got invited to be on it ... who knew???)

From the mailbag ...

Following up on the press coverage of the September 10th statement by the Bishops of California opposing Proposition 8, we've been encouraging folks to write Letters to the Editor at the L.A Times in support of our bishops' position. Here are a few of the ones we've sent in as an encouragment for others to "go and do likewise."


Dear Editor,

I was delighted to read that the Episcopal bishops took such a strong stand against Proposition 8. I believe it is critical as we approach this important election for people of faith to stand up and oppose this effort to take constitutionally guaranteed rights away from Californians who happen to be gay or lesbian. To do anything less would be to reduce our cherished "liberty and justice for all" to "liberty and justice for some." Our laws should guarantee the same fundamental rights and freedoms to every Californian.

Freedom of religion in this great country of ours protects the state from dictating to me, as an Episcopal priest, how I exercise my ministry. It is equally important that freedom from religion protect our constitution from those who would write their theology into it. We are a democracy, not a theocracy. Bravo to the bishops of the Episcopal Church for standing up to say so!

(The Reverend) Susan Russell


Dear Editor,

The coverage you gave to the Episcopal bishop’s statement against Proposition 8 was gratifying. Since some religious groups are organized to promote this proposition which deprives gay and lesbian people of the right to marry and perpetuates prejudice against them, it is important that people understand that theirs is not the only religious view. I would hope that other groups would step forward to stand against prejudice, and that the November election, among other things will be a positive referendum for equal treatment and equal rights in California.

The Rev. Warner R. Traynham
Los Angeles


Dear Editor,

Thank you for covering the Episcopal bishop's statement regarding Proposition 8. Stories about gay marriage often imply that all Christian churches and people have one view on this matter, and that is certainly not the case. In fact, many of us are alarmed at a call to return to Biblical standards regarding marriage. For a large portion of the Bible, the marriage standard is polygamy (with, in addition to multiple wives, a goodly number of concubines.)

This includes such intriguing prospects as the right to marry the widow of your enemy whom you have just slain and the obligation to marry your brother's widow should he predecease you. I think most of us can agree that our thinking on marriage has evolved for the better since those times, and continues to evolve as God leads us to understand how to treat each other with true respect.

Serena Beeks


Dear Editor,

I am deeply grateful for the inclusive position taken by the Episcopal Bishops in the State of California to stand against de facto segregation of persons who happen to be gay or lesbian. Fifty years ago our country passed laws to prohibit the segregation of black children from white children in public schools. It is time to extend basic civil rights and equal opportunity to persons of same sex orientation whose sexuality is as God-given as black skin or Asian ancestry.

"Domestic Partnerships," permitted to same-sex couples, are not the same as marriage. It is just another "separate but equal" myth designed to segregate those whom some religious groups choose to exclude. Segregation and discrimination are wrong. If Proposition 8 passes, I am confident that, sooner or later, it will be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court that serves to uphold the legal system that has made this country great. So why pass this prejudicial proposition in the first place? As the people of God, in whatever faith tradition, let us affirm those laws that reflect God's grace and mercy for all.

(The Reverend) Judith Heffron

Friday, September 12, 2008

Alaska lawmakers vote to subpoena Todd Palin

Charlie Huggins is my new hero -- camouflage pants and all.


By GENE JOHNSON (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated PressSeptember 12, 2008 10:34 PM EDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The abuse of power investigation against Sarah Palin, Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, took a potentially ominous turn for her party on Friday when state lawmakers voted to subpoena her husband.

Republican efforts to delay the probe until after the Nov. 4 election were thwarted when GOP State Sen. Charlie Huggins, who represents Palin's hometown of Wasilla, sided with Democrats. "Let's just get the facts on the table," said Huggins, who appeared in camouflage pants to vote during a break from moose hunting.

Read the rest here.

And now for something completely diffferent ...

So last November, All Saints Church became a movie set for a couple of days for the filming of the Clint Eastwood film "The Changeling" ... starring Angelina Jolie. (Giles Fraser wrote about it in his reflections on his visit to Pasadena in The Church Times.)

Well, the movie is about to come out -- and here's the trailer where you can see bits and pieces of All Saints Church, Pasadena ... transformed to look like it did (in theory!) back in 1928 ...


Hat tip to commenter IT for this one ...

I think I might be able to explain some of Sarah Palin's appeal. She's the "American Idol" candidate. Consider. What defines an "American Idol" finalist? They're good-looking, work well on television, have a sunny personality, are fierce competitors, and so talented, why, they're darned near the real thing.

There's a reason "American Idol" gets such high ratings. People identify with the contestants. They think, Hey, that could be me up there on that show!

My problem is, I don't want to be up there. I don't want a vice president who is darned near good enough. I want a vice president who is better, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq. Someone who doesn't repeat bald- faced lies about earmarks and the Bridge to Nowhere. Someone who doesn't appoint Alaskan politicians to "study" global warming, because, hello! It has been studied. The returns are convincing enough that John McCain and Barack Obama are darned near in agreement.

I would also want someone who didn't make a teeny little sneer when referring to "people who go to the Ivy League." When I was a teen I dreamed of going to Harvard, but my dad, an electrician, told me, "Boy, we don't have the money. Thank your lucky stars you were born in Urbana and can go to the University of Illinois right here in town." So I did, very happily. Although Palin gets laughs when she mentions the "elite" Ivy League, she sure did attend the heck out of college.

Five different schools in six years. What was that about?

And how can a politician her age have never have gone to Europe? My dad had died, my mom was working as a book-keeper and I had a job at the local newspaper when, at 19, I scraped together $240 for a charter flight to Europe. I had Arthur Frommer's $5 a Day under my arm, started in London, even rented a Vespa and drove in the traffic of Rome. A few years later, I was able to send my mom, along with the $15 a Day book.

You don't need to be a pointy-headed elitist to travel abroad. You need curiosity and a hunger to see the world. What kind of a person (who has the money) arrives at the age of 44 and has only been out of the country once, on an official tour to Iraq? Sarah Palin's travel record is that of a provincial, not someone who is equipped to deal with global issues.

But some people like that. She's never traveled to Europe, Asia, Africa, South America or Down Under? That makes her like them. She didn't go to Harvard? Good for her! There a lot of hockey moms who haven't seen London, but most of them would probably love to, if they had the dough. And they'd be proud if one of their kids won a scholarship to Harvard.

I trust the American people will see through Palin, and save the Republic in November. The most damning indictment against her is that she considered herself a good choice to be a heartbeat away. That shows bad judgment.

Good for Bishop MacBurney

Reported in The Living Church:

Bishop MacBurney Issues an Apology
Posted on: September 11, 2008

The Rt. Rev. Edward H. MacBurney, retired Bishop of Quincy, and Wicks Stephens, his lawyer, have reached an agreement under which Bishop MacBurney voluntarily submitted to discipline.

Last January, the Title IV [disciplinary] Review Committee issued a presentment against Bishop MacBurney for allegedly leading a service of confirmation at a congregation which had left the Diocese of San Diego in order to join the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone in South America. Bishop MacBurney was subsequently inhibited, or prohibited, from functioning in any way as a priest or bishop, pending an ecclesiastical trial which had been scheduled to be held in November.

In her “Sentence Upon Voluntary Submission to Discipline” dated Sept. 9, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori removed the inhibition against Bishop MacBurney and admonished him “not to repeat the actions which caused the presentment to be brought against him.” She also directed him to apologize “in writing to the Bishop of San Diego for not respecting his authority as the bishop of that diocese.”

Bishop James Mathes of San Diego, who originally had brought the complaint against Bishop MacBurney, said he was satisfied with the outcome. The process “held a bishop of the church accountable to his colleagues and this was a good thing,” Bishop Mathes told Episcopal News Service. He said Bishop MacBurney’s willingness to apologize for his actions “provided us a way to provide forgiveness.”

In an interview with a reporter for The Living Church, Mr. Stephens said that the sentence conformed to the terms which were agreed to before the voluntary submission was made adding that Bishop MacBurney is fully restored as a retired member of the House of Bishops, meaning he can again perform priestly and episcopal functions with the permission of the local diocesan bishop.

“I’m sure there are a number of diocesan bishops who would want to have an Anglo-Catholic bishop come and minister,” Mr. Stephens said. “This was a practical means of bringing him back.”

Bishop MacBurney is regarded fondly by many members of the Diocese of Quincy and elsewhere. Prior to his inhibition, he frequently conducted visitations and otherwise assisted Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy. The Diocese of Quincy is one of three where representatives to the diocesan convention this fall are scheduled to hold a final vote on whether to leave The Episcopal Church.

Mr. Stephens said Bishop MacBurney’s voluntary submission to discipline “does not foreclose the future in any way,” and that breakaway Anglican congregations will not be affected by his decision to remain with The Episcopal Church because there are now many more Anglican bishops in North America available to perform episcopal acts without first seeking permission from a diocesan bishop of The Episcopal Church.

“That was less true back in 2007,” Mr. Stephens said.

Reported by Steve Waring